Inspired by another thread where a poor MNer was having to go on a business trip with a vile letch.
Got me thinking about vile experiences I have had whislt travelling. Funnily enough I just shrugged it off at the time.
- running the gauntlet through a bunch of drunk turks in a French hotel, who proceeded to follow me to the lift. i ran like hell when i got to the correct floor and slammed my bedroom door behind me whimpering.
- sat in a supplier's French chateau (they put us up whislt we were visiting a plant down the road - this French company had their pwn bloody chateau in which to accomodate clients), they put the telly on and on came a French porn film. Three french blokes and my english colleague all had a good laugh and discussed the merits of the actresses (they had been at the brandy). I just sat there mortified.
- suppliers getting drunk and pinching my arse, they had offered my boss kickbacks and assumed that i was part of the deal.
- being taken on a tour of brothels in Taiwan
- Being completely ignored in Dubai - presumably as a woman i am a lesser citizen. My male boss was offered a chair in a meeting room and I had to stand.
I find the whole differing expectations of women thing quite traumatic.
So for example a man going on a business trip would just need to know whether to take suits or smart casual dress. As a woman acceptable dress is so much more closely defined. I cocked up recently when I went to India as I took a few skirt suits and only one pair of trousers because that's what I would normally wear in the UK. Of course I get to India and women do not show their legs ever. I spent two weeks in one pair of trousers.
Of course dress is one thing (and can be accommodated should someone bother to tell you in advance) but how to act is another. On the one hand you need to act in a way that's fitting with the culture ie non threateningly, but then you also need to get your job done, which usually means saying it like it is.
I say this as someone who is an Indian brought up in the UK so used to negotiating this from a personal perspective, but it's impossible at work when you need to deliver and can't just smile sweetly and think ignore, ignore, ignore.